GALLIPOLI by Peter Hart: I must admit that I am not a great reader of nonfiction books, especially war materials. On the advice of a friend who heard Mr. Hart speak some years ago at an Amvet convention, I picked it up and was frankly amazed at what the book described. Peter Hart, who recently passed away, was a world-renowned expert on the First World War with an emphasis on the battle of Gallipoli. He led tours of the battlefield during his lifetime and wrote several books about it.
The research going into the material is almost impossible to describe. Hart incorporates a large quantity of personal writings of the combatants – English, French, Australian, New Zealand and Turkish soldiers and officers. This alone probably required years of painstaking research and digging, plus translating into English for the book. The combat is set up as factual accounts of mass charges against modern weapons, with consequent slaughters of the numerous troops involved. It is not by any means dull or stodgy, as historical accounts of battle could be, but something bringing the reader into the combat observing from above and commiserating with the soldiers involved.
World War I, now a century in the past, was combat with modern weapons comprising massive troop charges from one set of trenches to the enemy trenches just yards away. Slaughter was beyond understanding, with waves of men running into cannon and machine gun fire. The main theater of war was the western front on territory that ran through France and Belgium. It was a complete stalemate in 1915 when Winston Churchill conceived the idea of a campaign to conquer Istanbul in order to open a path to Russia, an ally of England, and provide material to them. At that time he was the First Lord of the Admiralty (equivalent to Secretary of the Navy), and wanted to make a name for himself. He fought off opposition and an invasion was launched against Gallipoli in late April 1915. It was painfully obvious that the cost in lives would be horrendous, and after months of bloody stalemate the decision was made to withdraw. which was accomplished in January 1916. Ironically, the withdrawal is considered to be the only victory for the British and their allies in the battle since subterfuge prevented mass slaughter of the fleeing troops. As a consequence of the battle’s failure, Churchill had to resign as Admiralty First Lord, but later did resurrect his political career. Obviously this book is not for everyone, but is recommended for those that like to explore history through well researched material regardless of what segment of history it discusses. 6/12 Paul Lane
GALLOWS VIEW by Peter Robinson: This is the first of the Inspector Banks series for which Robinson has become justly famous. Former London policeman Alan Banks has relocated to small Yorkshire village of Eastvale seeking some small measure of peace, but crime and violence are not limited to large cities. . Soon he is dealing with a brazen Peeping Tom who spies on attractive, unsuspecting ladies as they prepare for bed. When an elderly woman is found brutally slain in her home, Chief Inspector Banks wonders if the voyeur has progressed to more violent crimes. I am looking forward to continuing the series. 09/06 Jack Quick
GALVESTON by Nic Pizzolatto: Roy Cady is middle-aged gangster who has a really bad day; he finds out he has terminal cancer and that his boss is trying to kill him. Instead, he turns the tables on the men sent to kill him in a terrible bloodbath that leaves Rocky, a young hooker/innocent by-stander, alive and petrified. He takes Rocky with him and goes on the lam. She asks him to make a stop in Orange, Texas, where she picks up her three year old sister. Now saddled with two girls, they hide out while Cady tries to get together enough money for the girls to survive on their own without him. Things don’t turn out the way he wants but what a story he has to tell. This dark and gritty novel with well defined characters is completely engrossing. An excellent debut novel. Note: I would really like to know how, on p. 81, this character used to grill battered shrimp. Wouldn’t the batter fall through the grill? 10/10 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GALVESTON by Nic Pizzolatto: Ray Caasy is not a nice man. Hailing from Port Arthur Texas, he is working as an enforcer for a low-level, low-life New Orleans gangster. But that is no reason for his boss to attempt to call him, particularly on the same day he learns he has terminal lung cancer. Roy and a young prostitute, Rocky, who hails from Orange, Texas near Port Arthur — are thrown together after a blood-spattered encounter with the would-be hit men, and end up on the run, traveling from New Orleans to Galveston. “Nothing ends well,” Roy muses at one point, and, of course, we know from the start that this road trip is on a collision course with disaster. Pizzolatto builds tension by moving back and forth in time: we know it all goes bad, but we don’t know how. All in all, an excellent crime-fiction debut. 02/11 Jack Quick
GALWAY BAY by Mary Pat Kelly: We meet Honora Kelley as she’s preparing to enter the sisterhood, something that has been planned for her to do since she was a young girl. Instead, though, she sees a man who appears to be drowning in Galway Bay. This man is Michael Kelly, and they fall in love at first sight. Despite many challenges, they eventually marry. Galway Bay is the tale of one Irish family’s quest for survival, despite the many tragedies that come their way. One can’t help but feel enlighten and encouraged by the Kelly family’s triumphs and dedication to the future and survival of their family. The characters were strong, well rounded and unforgettable. Mary Pat Kelly, a descendent of the Kelly family, definitely has a great talent for writing. Her research and passion for her descendant’s history is evident. Her portrayal of the Kelly family experience was never sugar coated, it was always true to history. It was an honor for me to be able walk with this family and learn about a part of history that is not often detailed. Galway Bay touched my soul like no other book has for some time. If you haven’t picked up a copy of Galway Bay, do it now. You won’t be sorry. 03/09 Jennifer Lawrence
A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin: Have you ever read fantasy? Have you ever tried? OK time to try. George RR Martin has created a series that will blow your mind. And good riddance to your mind I say! These books are so totally captivating that you will stay up long into the night to read them. You will gasp as you read, and smirk, and fill with tears, and tell all your friends the next morning. They are big and juicy and so clever! The first is A GAME OF THRONES where you’ll meet all the key players. The second is A CLASH OF KINGS. The third is A STORM OF SWORDS. The fourth is hopefully due out next spring. I know you’ll hope so if you begin #1. There is nothing to do but gush over how good these books are. The characters are terrific. The settings are perfect – – Kings and Queens and swords and wolves and lions and dragons and castles – – Ghosts and shadows and forts and battles. They are great for kids 11 and up too. But like all great books they are meant for everyone and every age. I could write another 3 pages about the fast pace, the intrigue, the jaw dropping scenes . . . but go ahead and read the first book and write to me! I can think of no better series to spend a summer with than this. ~This review contributed by Ann Nappa
A GAME OF THRONES by George R. R. Martin: Epic fantasy fans have known for a long time that George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series is one of the best out there. After a critically acclaimed first season, the TV adaptation is introducing more folks—like me—to the series as well. Rather than wait for season two to air, I figured I needed to start with book one and actually read them. As an aside, season one does follow book one almost to a T. In Game of Thrones, we meet the Starks of Winterfell: Ned Stark, best friend of the King and brother-in-law to the King’s Hand, his wife, Catelyn, his son Jon Snow (who’s mother is a closely held secret), and the Stark children. Their lives at Winterfell are thrown upside down when news regarding the death of the King’s Hand reaches them. The King asks Ned to take the position and the Starks soon find themselves in the midst of a plot that will have terrible consequences for everyone. The King’s wife, Cersei Lannister, with the help of her twin brother (and lover) is responsible for the death of the Hand and when Ned learns why, he becomes their greatest enemy. Meanwhile, the last remaining descendants of an overthrown king are plotting their own return. Game is a complex and bulky read, but one that easily draws readers in. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but Martin does well in introducing them all and building their histories in a way that doesn’t bog down the story. 2/12 Becky Lejeune
A GARDEN OF VIPERS by Jack Kerley: Three dead women, each killed in a different way. One is a friend of the girlfriend of Mobile, Alabama, detective Carson Ryder. What Ryder and partner Harry Nautilus aren’t sure is whether the three seemingly dissimilar cases are in fact related. Then Ryder learns that Lucas Kincannon, son and scion of one of Mobile’s nouveau rich is after his television reporter girlfriend. Coupled with some follow the money clues, this puts Ryder and Nautilus on a collision course with the city power structure. This is Kerley’s third (after The Hundredth Man and The Death Collectors) and he is rapidly making Mobile the epicenter of new millennium crime detection. The villains are flawed, as are the protagonists, and you are kept in suspense as to just who will overcome their own defects first. While not yet a Burke or a Parker, Kerley is already on my “don’t miss” list. 07/06 Jack Quick
THE GARGOYLE by Andrew Davidson: The narrator is a gorgeous porno actor that crashes his car while driving on a winding mountainous road. He ends wakes up in a burn unit with third degree burns over most of his body. To make things worse, if that is even possible, he spilled a bottle of bourbon in his lap right before his accident, and his “livelihood” is burnt beyond repair and is removed. He wants his life to end. Throughout his recovery, rather than planning what he will do once he is released from the hospital, he plans his suicide. And then a beautiful ,but visibly disturbed, gargoyle sculptress appears in his room and is certain that they were lovers in medieval Germany. He is released into her care and he is ultimately convinced that the story she tells of their history must be true. This second chance at love is completely implausible, but I was drawn in from the beginning. Davidson’s tale of love is strange yet mesmerizing. This debut author has immense talent and I look forward to reading more of his work. 08/08 Jennifer Lawrence
THE GATE HOUSE by Nelson DeMille: DeMille returns to his roots, so to speak, in this long awaited sequel to The Gold Coast, originally published almost twenty years ago. That book offered a glimpse into the lifestyle of the rich and privileged, the old money who lived on the North Shore of Long Island on the fabulous estates dubbed the “Gold Coast”. In DeMille’s version, the Mafia moves in next door and all sorts of bedlam follows. It’s a great read that still holds up well. This sequel, unfortunately, does not hold up quite as well. Our main protagonists, John and Susan, are back, only they are divorced and haven’t seen each other in a number of years. An old family servant is dying, and both return for the imminent funeral, John in his role as attorney and executor of the estate, and Susan in her role as friend and employer. Unfortunately, the Bellarosa family is still in the neighborhood too – while the Don is long dead, his son is still around and seeking revenge against his father’s murderer. The problem with the sequel lies in that the story centers around John and Susan reconciling, and not much else really happens in this overly long book. If you like family dramas, then this is your book, but if you’re looking for the action and thrills and even the wit of a more typical DeMille book, you won’t find it here until the very end. While it is not necessary to have read The Gold Coast to read the sequel, it is a real disservice not to – it is a far superior book. 11/08 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
THE GATEKEEPER by Michelle Gagnon: Michelle Gagnon’s third Kelly Jones/Jake Riley thriller is a timely and somewhat disturbing read. Jake Riley’s venture into the private sector is slowly paying off when he and his partner are hired for one of their toughest cases yet. A scientist’s teenage daughter has been kidnapped and the ransom is quite different from the usual. This time, the people responsible want information rather than money, and it’s information that could mean the safety of the nation. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Kelly Jones has been assigned to investigate the recent murder of an Arizona senator who had some sensitive and very public opinions on immigration. Evidence strongly suggests that a local gang is behind the killing, but things are just a little too neat for Jones’s taste. Could it be that open and shut or is there much more to this case hidden below the surface? Fans of the series will once again be on the edge of their seats throughout The Gatekeeper, but the end will leave them dying to know what comes next for the pair. 12/09 Becky Lejeune
GATEKEEPER by Philip Shelby: Hollis Fremont, a functionary at the American embassy in Paris, is duped by her superior and boyfriend, Paul McGann, into accompanying a man she believes to be a small-fry criminal back to the States for country-club prison incarceration. In fact, the rumpled old man turns out to be “the Handyman,” a freelance assassin on a mission. Think Le Carre and Forsyth updated for today. Perfect for anyone with international conspiracy paranoia, like me. 02/06 Jack Quick
GATOR A-GO-GO by Tim Dorsey: Tim Dorsey’s loveable psychotic Florida history buff/murderer, Serge Storms, is on the road again. He is doing his best Ken Burns impersonation as he tries to film a documentary about EVERYTHING. Since nothing but Serge’s sidekick, slacker par excellence Coleman, moves slowly in Dorsey’s humorous crime novels, the focus of the movie swiftly narrows down to a history of that collegiate ritual – Spring Break in Florida.
A strange chemistry envelops our two heroes, Serge and Coleman, as they begin to mingle with the hordes of fun-seekers. First, Coleman attracts a throng of followers who treat him as near god-like for his ability to provide expert advice on such critical matters as the best way to keep your beer cold at the beach and his special brownie recipe. Then, Serge attracts his old female friends, City and Country, and adopts a reluctant spring-breaker who is being pursued by both the mob and the authorities after his father’s witness protection identity is exposed.
This group’s road trip travels backwards in Spring Break history, starting in the Florida Panhandle, moving to Daytona and finally ending in Ft. Lauderdale where Spring Break began because that’s “where the boys are.” Craziness and humor are a part of the journey as Serge dispatches various bad guys in his normal creative fashion and dispenses a history lesson at every turn, including a little homage to John D. MacDonald.
My personal favorite part of the book is a review of Serge’s kindergarten graduation address. “Don’t try to be different. That will make you different. Don’t try to be popular. If you’re already popular, you’ve peaked too soon. Always walk away from a fight. Then ambush…Now get out of there, class of 2020, and take back our state.”
If there was ever a book that screamed “Take me on Spring Break,” this is it. However, if you happen to read it before or after, you will still be transported on a hilarious journey in your mind. Cheers. 02/10 Geoffrey R. Hamlin
GAUNTLET by Richard Aaron: Somewhat rambling but very enjoyable debut thriller that pits Afghan Yousseff Said al-Sabbhan, a drug-smuggling terrorist, against the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, a secret agency staffed by men and women drawn from every sector of the U.S. intelligence community. The plot is complex, the characters are interesting and the suspense is palpable. A primary figure in the battle is an autistic mathematician Hamilton Turbee, a TTIC employee, who is surely one of the more interesting and endearing heroes ever to star in an action adventure novel. While there are lots of toys and cutting edge technology it all comes down to boots on the ground old fashioned police work, but isn’t that always the case. There is already talk of not one, but two, sequels. Hope they come through. 08/09 Jack Quick
THE GEMINI VIRUS by Wil Mara: Bob Easton doesn’t get sick. No colds, no flus, nothing. He’s stringent in his care of his health and is convinced that he will live a long life as a result. He’s wrong. It begins with a fever and body aches, s–oon Easton is weak and coughing up a storm, spreading germs to all those around him. As the virus spreads, the flu-like symptoms progress and the victims soon find themselves covered in blisters. Before long, many of them are driven completely mad. The mortality rate is staggering and within days the infection is seen in states all over the country. Michael Beck is an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control. He’s sent to the center of the outbreak in hopes of discovering what caused the growing epidemic. As he investigates, others search for a treatment or a cure. But the contagion is spreading so fast that containment is completely out of the question. Dennis Jensen had thought that isolation would save his family from the infection, now his only hope is that someone might find a way to beat the virus before his family succumbs. Wil Mara’s latest is a super gory and super chilling tale of a catastrophic pandemic. 10/12 Becky Lejeune
THE GENVEVA OPTION by Adam LeBor: Yael Azoulay’s career with the UN involves negotiating with some of the toughest characters the world over. She’s just successfully struck a deal with Jean-Pierre Hakizimani that will hopefully mean an end to mass genocide in eastern Congo. The downside is that Hakizimani comes off light for his crimes. But it’s the UN’s only hope for ending years of horrible feuding in the area. Unfortunately, Yael returns home to discover that a private correspondence outlining the terms of the agreement has been leaked to the press. Yael finds herself not only out of a job, but accused of spreading the story. She gets help in the form of an anonymous email that includes a taped conversation concerning the very same crimes she was negotiating a pardon for. The voices on the tape are UN insiders. With her reputation and now her life at stake, Yael will have to infiltrate the very organization she was once part of in order to find out the truth. If she fails, the consequences could have dire ramifications for the UN and the US government. LeBor launches a new series with The Geneva Option and it promises to be a great one amongst the ranks of espionage thrillers. 7/13 Becky Lejeune
GENGHIS: BIRTH OF AN EMPIRE by Conn Iggulden: Born Temujin, son of Yesugei Khan of the Wolves, Genghis Khan was destined to be a leader. At twelve years of age, it became Temujin’s responsibility to protect and provide for his family after their own people betrayed them. Yesugei had been murdered and his second in command took over the role of Khan, denying Yesugei’s heirs their rightful position. In order to protect himself from factions within the tribe who disagreed with this decision, the man exiled the family, leaving them with only the clothes on their backs and hoping that they would die of starvation. The family survives, but Temujin is forced to kill his own brother after discovering that he has been stealing much needed food from the others. Years pass and the Wolves return to the area. The new Khan sends scouts to find out if the family has survived and Temujin’s chance for revenge is close at hand. Temujin begins uniting the wandering tribeless Mongols, creating and becoming Khan of his own tribe. In his latest work, Conn Iggulden brings this legendary figure to life, chronicling the start of his rise to power. Readers of historical fiction will appreciate this realistic and gripping look at a young Genghis Khan. 05/07 Becky Lejeune
GENTLEMEN AND PLAYERS by Joanne Harris: No one suspects that the new student at St. Oswald’s is actually the porter’s kid in disguise. The student who calls himself Pinchbeck infiltrates the school, at first with only the intention of observing. Soon, Pinchbeck befriends another student at St. Oswald’s and the two wreak innocent havoc on campus. All the while, no one suspects that Pinchbeck does not belong at all. Then, Pinchbeck’s innocent prank results in a horrible accident and everything changes. Now, Pinchbeck is back and intent on revenge at St. Oswald’s. Of particular interest to Pinchbeck is Classics teacher Roy Straitley who he holds singularly responsible for that terrible accident that occurred so long ago. Harris is one of my absolute favorite authors. She is able to appeal to such a wide variety of readers thanks to her very diverse collection of work. Gentlemen and Players is more of a mystery than any of her previous work and is sure to delight new readers as well as old. 02/07 Becky Lejeune
THE GENTLING BOX by Lisa Mannetti: It’s 1863 and Mimi and Imre are happy beyond compare. At least until a messenger sent by Mimi’s mother warns of her impending death. In spite of their troublesome relationship, Mimi wants to see her mother one last time, to say goodbye. Imre begs her not to, but Mimi is insistent. Upon their arrival, they find that they are too late, Mimi’s mother Anyeta is already dead. They also find a caravan of people who are more than happy to be rid of Anyeta and her evil, but unfortunately are still under her terrible spell. To rid themselves of her torment, they are been planning to burn the body and warn Imre not to allow Mimi get too close. Imre is too late, however, and the peoples’ worst fears are realized when Anyeta transfers her spirit not into Mimi, but into her cousin, Zahara. Imre’s judgement is clouded by his own feelings for Zahara and his fears of Anyeta and soon falls under her spell as well. If he cannot gather enough will to fight, he may lose his wife and his young daughter to the witch as well. Lisa Mannetti explores the fascinating mythology and superstition of the Romany/Gypsies in this chilling tale of love and evil. 01/09 Becky Lejeune
GERM by Robert Liparulo: Liparulo takes the concept of germ warfare to a higher level. The Ebola virus has been modified so that it can seek and destroy specific individuals based on their DNA. Ten thousand people are on the list for infection, and it’s up to special agent Julia Matheson to stop the horror. While the narrative wanders a bit and the cast of characters is extensive, the action is fast paced with lots of technical details especially in the gathering and communication of information that help differentiate this story from the run-of-the-mill thriller. 11/06 Jack Quick
GET LUCKY by Katherine Center: Sarah Harper screwed up. After sending an email full of boobs around the office mailing list, she’s predictably let go from her high-profile advertising job. Her plan is to travel home for the holidays and regroup, returning to New York to start fresh after a short vacation. Her plans changed. Sarah’s sister, Mackie, has discovered that she cannot have children. In a stroke of genius that will turn Sarah’s world upside down, she decides that she will carry her sister’s child for her, giving her the life-changing gift of motherhood. But nothing goes exactly as planned and Sarah has taken the first steps on a journey that will teach her the true meaning of love and happiness. Center’s latest is a heartwarming read that fans will surely fall in love with. Get Lucky is both funny and touching. 04/10 Becky Lejeune
GETTING LUCKY by D. C. Brod: If newspapers die, as many predict, will the reporter as super-sleuth genre die with them? When a young reporter is killed in a hit and run accident, freelance writer Robyn Guthrie agrees to finish one of the stories the reporter had been writing for the local newspaper. I can solve this mystery in less time than it takes to make up a front page or create color separations. 12/11 Jack Quick
GETTING OFF: A NOVEL OF SEX AND VIOLENCE by Lawrence Block writing as Jill Emerson: This is no Bernie Rhodenbarr book; this is dark, dark, compelling reading. Our main character is a young woman who changes her name every few pages. She picks up a man, has sex with him, kills him, grabs whatever cash she can and moves on to another city and does it again. She is no black widow, she doesn’t marry these men. As she continues this journey we learn her back story, what compels her to do this and what, if anything, might get her to stop. This book is a real throwback to the golden age of hard-boiled mysteries where redemption is not always an option, and not every crime is punished. Somehow Block pulls it all together and makes it work. Not for the faint of heart for sure but I loved it. 09/11 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GETTING OFF: A NOVEL OF SEX AND VIOLENCE by Lawrence Block: Kit Tolliver leads a simple life. She goes to bars in New York City, leaves with an interested man, has sex with him – and kills him. She cleans out his wallet, changes her name and address and keeps on moving. All is fine, until a chance remark causes her to think of the men who got away, for whatever reason. So she starts writing down names and becomes s a girl with a mission. Picking up their trails. Hunting them down. Crossing them off her list… Block wrote this as Jill Emerson and while portions have appeared in previous anthologies this is the first complete printing of this first rate crime story. 12/11 Jack Quick
Getting Over It by Anna Maxted: British import a la Bridget Jones, with a slightly more serious side, dealing with a family death amidst the romance. Not as serious as it sounds, it’s still a fun read. Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GHOST DANCER by John Case: Jack Wilson is the Ghost Dancer, an ex-con with a burning hatred against the US fueled by his losing a patent idea and the country’s treatment of his Native American ancestors. He thinks he has the secret to re-creating a harmonic resonance weapon, alleged to have been used by Nikolai Tesla to cause the explosion that left the Tunguska crater in Siberia in 1908. Partnering with an Al-Qaeda offshoot, Wilson plans his attack, while US intelligence services are portrayed as being incompetent and out of touch. As a consequence it falls on accidental participant Mike Burke to stop the plot. Far fetched, but what do you expect in a techno-thriller. Recommended. 09/06 Jack Quick
Ghost Image by Joshua Gilder: In this medical thriller à la Michael Palmer and Robin Cook, Dr. Jackson Maebry, heir-apparent to Dr. Brandt, plastic surgeon to the stars, happens to be the surgeon on call when a brutally beaten and burned young woman is brought into the trauma center at San Francisco’s Memorial Hospital. As Jackson begins working on her, he slowly realizes that beneath the bruising, broken bones and burns, this heretofore unrecognizable woman is actually his lover, Allie Sorosh. Somehow, he keeps that fact to himself as he assists the surgical team in its first attempt to repair the damage that was inflicted. As the story convolves, Allie’s mysterious past proves troubling, friends and colleagues are not what they seem to be, and people start dying under questionable circumstances. Meanwhile, Jackson becomes the prime suspect in the attack while having to deal with hospital politics as well as his own personal demons. Ghost Image is a very gripping debut novel that fairly hurtles towards its final pages. Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GHOST OF A CHANCE by Amy Patricia Meade: It’s two guys and a doll, or maybe that should be two pros and a new guy. Any way in 1935 it’s not ladylike to mix in murder but for mystery writer Marjorie McClelland, its part of the job, and for her fiancé, police detective Robert Jameson, it’s why he was hired. The joker in the case is wealthy Englishman Creighton Ashcroft. Is he really interested in crime solving or in one of the crime solvers? Thickening the plot is the fact that the victim left behind two wives and a huge gambling debt. The only thing round in this batch of triangles is the Ferris wheel upon which the victim is found death. No more clues, you’ll have to read it yourself. 05/07 Jack Quick
THE GHOST ORCHID by Carol Goodman: What happens when the past and present collide at this haven for artists? Ellis Brooks, a first time novelist, is about to find out as she unravels the mysteries of Bosco in this picturesque tale. The dual story line of this novel provides a thrilling and captivating read. Present day, Ellis and fellow artists are experiencing strange occurrences that seem to be an almost exact repeat of what happened in the home a century earlier. In 1893, Milo Latham, the original owner of the Bosco estate, hosted a séance to contact her dead children. The rest is a mystery that still haunts the house today. What really happened on that fateful night nearly 100 years ago? Are there really ghosts at Bosco? What Ellis discovers while researching her novel is ultimately one family’s eerie and well-kept secret – a secret that will connect Ellis to Bosco in ways she could never imagine. 11/06 Becky LeJeune
GHOST ROAD BLUES by Jonathan Maberry: Thirty years ago, the town of Pine Deep put a killer to rest. Today, the town has become one of the top Halloween destinations, and the events of all those years ago have been all but forgotten. All that is about to change, though, as evil rises once again. Malcolm Crow hasn’t forgotten about the killings. His own brother and his best friend’s sister were victims. He knew the true identity of the killer and knows that the town lynched the wrong man. He also knows that the man who was accused of the crimes was supposed to have killed the real perpetrator, but when a criminal hiding out in Pine Deep whispers a name Crow thought he would never hear again, he knows Pine Deep is in for a lot of trouble. Ghost Road Blues is just the first in Maberry’s Pine Deep trilogy and sets the bar for what looks like a great new talent in the horror industry. Winner of the 2006 Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. 11/08 Becky Lejeune
THE GHOST WRITER by John Harwood: At thirteen, Gerard discovers a key that unlocks a drawer in his mother’s bedroom. In the drawer, he discovers three things: a book, an envelope containing a sheaf of typewritten pages, and a photograph of a young woman. His mother’s fury at discovering her son stooped over these items is terrifying. Later, in an attempt to discover more about the photo and the reason that these items are kept under lock and key, Gerard tried to get his mother to reveal more about her childhood in England. She had always been more than happy to tell Gerard about her childhood at Staplefield, her grandmother Viola and her best friend Rosalind. After discovering Gerard snooping though, she refuses to speak of England again. That same year, through a school pen-pal program, Gerard meets Alice, a girl his own age, living in England, who was orphaned and crippled in an accident. A later search of his mother’s room reveals that all items, save the book, have since been moved. The book contains a Victorian ghost story penned by a V. H. As an adult, Gerard finally takes a trip to England to meet Alice and discover more about his family’s history. Alice refuses to meet him and his attempts to find both her and Staplefield are futile. Gerard tries again, after his mother’s death and he discovers that his mother may have been hiding a shocking and dangerous secret. The novel itself contains multiple creepy ghost stories all providing clues about Gerard’s mother and her hidden past. Harwood’s fiction debut is nothing short of brilliant. A fantastically modern gothic tale. 10/06 Becky LeJeune
GHOSTGIRL by Tonya Hurley: Charlotte Usher would give anything to be the popular girl and to get her dream guy, Damen Dylan. But just when it seems like everything is going her way, she chokes on a gummy bear and dies. Now Charlotte’s the new girl in a whole different “school,” Dead-Ed. Turns out, there are a handful of dead teens haunting the halls of Hawthorne High and each of them has unresolved issues that are keeping them from crossing over. Charlotte is sure that her own issue somehow involves Damen and the Fall Ball. When she discovers that a living student can actually see her, Charlotte’s plans finally begin to fall into place. But Charlotte’s fraternizing with the living is not pleasing her new dead friends. Can she find a way move on and still get what she wants more than anything else in the world? A spunky teen tale that’s silly and touching, Ghostgirl is all about finding out who you are and learning to love yourself. Hurley’s debut runs more along the lines of, say, Meg Cabot than Stephenie Meyer and will appeal to teen readers who enjoy lighter stories (no major scares in this one). 09/08 Becky Lejeune
GHOSTMAN by Roger Hobbs: Jack is a ghost, a master of disguise and disappearance, who works bank robberies. He is the antithesis of another famous ghost, Jack Reacher. The story moves between a casino robbery gone bad and a botched bank robbery in Malaysia several years earlier. Jack botched the bank job, and his debt is called when the casino heist turns into a blood bath and the money goes missing. Jack is called in to find the money and deliver it. This is a fast paced, intricate story filled with interesting characters and locations. This book has been getting a lot of press, good press, and it has been optioned for a film. The author wrote it while in college and is now 22 years old. This definitely feels like the beginning of a long writing career. 2/13 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GHOSTS OF BUNGO SUIDO by P T Deutermann: Riveting tale of a submariner sent in late 1944 to destroy a newly-built aircraft carrier, ready to launch from Japan’s heavily-defended and mined Inland Sea. No American submarine has penetrated the Inland Sea; five boats and their crews have perished in the Bungo Suido strait. Lieutenant Commander Gar Hammond—an aggressive, attacking leader with a reckless streak—is now captain of a new submarine. Hammond may be the navy’s only hope to locate and stop the Japanese super-ship before it launches . . . if it even exists. Woven into the story are fascinating insights regarding the atomic boms falling on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a definitely twisty ending. Recommended. 10/13 Jack Quick
GHOSTS OF SLEATH by James Herbert: Paranormal investigator David Ash returns in this chilling and atmospheric sequel to Haunted. Ash specializes in investigating and disproving paranormal activity, but he is still suffering the ill effects of his investigation three years ago at Edbrook. Still, cynical and slightly too reliant on his flask of vodka, he is one of the best the Psychical Research Institute has on staff. It is with some hesitation that the institute sends David out to the village of Sleath where multiple hauntings have been reported. The local vicar’s daughter has requested the institute’s help after her own father admits to having seen one of the specters. It begins with the death of a local woman’s son. After the funeral she becomes a shut-in unwilling to leave or even admit guests. It’s not that she’s upset by her loss, it’s that she believes her son has been visiting her from beyond the grave. Then, a local teenage girl wakes to find her childhood abuser standing over her in her sleep. The man died in prison not long after being sentenced, though. Something is very wrong in the village of Sleath and it’s David’s job to uncover the dark secrets behind these events. Herbert is great at combining psychological horror with the truly grotesque. Ghosts of Sleath is unfortunately currently out of print in the US but still readily available in the UK. 10/08 Becky Lejeune
G.I. BONES by Martin Limon: U.S. Army criminal investigators George Sueño and Ernie Bascom are looking into the more than 20-year-old case of Tech. Sgt. Florencio R. Moretti, who went missing in 1953 and is presumed dead. As they search for the truth in Seoul, Korea’s red-light district, Itaewon, they uncover a past of military and government corruption, prostitution and murder. Having served in Korea during the early 1970’s as did Limon I can attest to his skill in capturing the time and place exactly. This is the sixth outing in a series that just keeps getting better and better. Hope to see many more in the years ahead. 11/10 Jack Quick
GIDEON’S CORPSE by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: Preston and Douglas have a large number of successful novels between them. The majority of these books feature plots involving events just beyond the ordinary. Gideon’s Corpse is the second volume in a series involving high adventures by the brilliant Gideon Crew. This not a tongue in cheek statement since Crew has a brilliant academic background and experience with the extraordinary. It was discovered in the first volume about him: Gideon’s Sword that he has an inoperable brain defect and only has a year to live. One needn’t feel sorry for Crew – he is thrown into one of a kind adventures by a secret government organization that is giving him a chance to serve his fellow man and not get too maudlin with his problem. In this book the organization asks Crew to look into an apparent plot by Al Quada to nuke Washington and New York. There are apparently only 10 days to come up with the solution and solve the case. Every thing points to the plot involving Al Quada terrorists until an extremely well thought out crucial point brings out a completely diametrically opposed solution with Crew pinpointing the path to resolution. It is very obvious that additional Gideon Crew books are planned by the authors pointing out that the imminent end of life needn’t take away the zest for it while it exists. Crew’s brilliant mind will surely be given free rein in solving other problems that are just beyond the norm. 2/12 Paul Lane
GIMME A CALL by Sarah Mlynowski: What would you do if you had the chance to change your life? If you were able to talk to your younger self and thus avoid the pitfalls and bad decisions of your past? This is what happens to seventeen-year-old Devi. After a bad breakup with her boyfriend, a trip to the mall leaves her phone waterlogged and able to call just one number: her own at age fourteen. It doesn’t take long for Devi to decide that this is her chance to step in and change things. She can get better grades and get into a better school, she can spend more time with her friends before it’s too late, and she can make sure that she never falls for Bryan, the boy who broke her heart. But every step past Devi makes does change things for future Devi and not always for the best. Mlynowksi’s latest is a quick and fun read for teens that will also have adult readers wondering “what if?” 05/10 Becky Lejeune
THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT by Laura Lippman: This is Lippman’s homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, and it originally ran as a serial in the New York Times Magazine. I didn’t read the serial so I have no basis for comparison, but generally speaking when they turn those into books there may be additions and significant editing. This is a Tess Monahan vehicle, only things have changed a bit for Tess. She is pregnant and having a tough time of it; due to complications, she is put on bed rest, unable to get out of bed other than for bathroom breaks. She moves out onto the newly renovated sunporch, the front door remains unlocked for people to come by with food for her, and she keeps her iPhone and laptop at hand. Not a fun way to spend a pregnancy, (and I speak from experience.) Tess watches the world go by outside her window, and can’t help noticing a girl in a green raincoat walking her little dog, who is similarly attired, every afternoon. Until the afternoon when the dog is running free and there is no sign of the girl in the green raincoat. Even from her bed, Tess investigates, utilizing her friends and family to help out. It’s a very compelling story with interesting characters, lots of red herrings, and a satisfying ending. For me, it was also very personal and very emotional as well. Another terrific read from this very talented author. 1/11 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GIRL OF NIGHTMARES by Kendare Blake: When an angry spirit causes trouble, it is Cas’s job to get rid of said spirit. Cas went to Thunder Bay in search of a ghost the locals called Anna Dressed in Blood. But when Cas confronted Anna, he found that there was more to her than he’d expected. Cas freed Anna from the curse that hounded her since her death and in return Anna descended into a hellish world in exchange for Cas’s life. Though Anna is gone, Cas can’t let her go. Everyone thinks it’s all in his head, but Cas is convinced that Anna still needs his help. Anna Dressed in Blood set the bar pretty high but I have to say that Girl of Nightmares met, and in some cases exceeded, all of my expectations. This duology is richly imagined and chillingly detailed. Though this could be the end of Cas and Anna’s story, I’ll be anxiously awaiting whatever comes next from Blake. 8/12 Becky Lejeune
THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON by Sarah Addison Allen: Emily Benedict’s world has been turned upside-down. Her mother has died and Emily is faced with returning to a home that was never her own. Emily’s mother left Mullaby, North Carolina and never looked back. Emily never heard the stories of what happened there and she never met her grandfather, Vance, or any of her mother’s old friends. But Emily has nowhere else to go. Her arrival in Mullaby is met with suspicion and unease, for Emily’s mother has long been held responsible for one of the town’s most tragic events. In spite of this, Julia Winterson is determined to make Emily feel welcome. Julia knows all too well the pains of being an unpopular teenager, but Julia also knows how to move on with your life and make the best of what you’re given. The Girl Who Chased the Moon is a charming read that’s as delicious as BBQ and hummingbird cake on a warm Southern night. 03/10 Becky Lejeune
THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE by David Cristofano: I loved this amazing debut novel that’s a little off the well-beaten track of murder and mayhem. “She used to be” six-year-old Melody Grace McCarthy, until she and her parents accidentally witnessed a Mafia execution. The whole family is whisked into the federal Witness Protection Program, and this is the story of how a young girl grew up in the program, changing her name and address as necessary – every mysterious phone call, or suspicious behavior was cause for another move. Then one day a tall, handsome stranger approaches Melody and knows her real name, her real story. Talk about opposites attracting; he’s the son of the murderer. Thus begins a romance on the run and against the odds, but can it work? I won’t tell, but I will tell that Cristofano is a very gifted storyteller. 03/09 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
THE GIRL WITH GLASS FEET by Ali Shaw: Midas Crook has lived his whole life on St. Hauda’s Land, a tiny island where everyone knows everyone and no one can keep secrets. Ida Maclaird has returned to the island in hopes that she can track down the one person who may be able to help her. See, Ida is turning into glass. When Midas happens upon Ida one afternoon, the two find themselves drawn to one another in a way that they’ve never experienced. As time runs out for Ida, she begins to fall in love with Midas. But Midas’s own feelings are guarded and hidden thanks to his strange childhood. The small, secluded setting, mythical beings and occurrences, and haunting tone of this story bring to mine the fairy tales that inspire Shaw’s writing. The Girl With Glass Feet is a beautiful, touching, and heartbreaking story. A wonderful book that leaves the reader wondering, what if… 01/10 Becky Lejeune
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson: Stieg Larsson’s U.S. debut is by far one of the most talked about books of 2008, and the praise is well deserved. Financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist has made a mistake that could cost him his career and his reputation. After being convicted of slander and libel against a local businessman, Blomkvist agrees to accept a job from business mogul Henrik Vanger. In 1966, the Vanger family was gearing up for a huge meeting when Henrik’s great niece Harriet vanished. At the time of her disappearance, much of the family was present at the Vanger estate on the island of Hedeby. That afternoon, the island was completely cut off thanks to an accident that occurred on the bridge connecting it to the mainland. No sign of Harriet’s body was ever found, but Henrik strongly believes that Harriet was murdered that night and that one of his own family is responsible. Henrik hires Blomkvist to try and uncover the truth about Harriet and Blomkvist reluctantly accepts even though he believes the effort is futile. Larsson’s debut is just the first installment of his bestselling and award-winning Millennium Series. Like the best mysteries and thrillers, every twist in this tale is completely unexpected. I absolutely loved it. The translation is smooth and the story itself really drew me in. Lisbeth Salander (the girl with the dragon tattoo) is an intriguing character all by herself and her own involvement in the tale is utterly enthralling. The next title in the trilogy is due out in 2010 and I can’t wait. 09/08 Becky Lejeune
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson: Mikael Bloomkvist, a Swedish financial journalist, is convicted of committing libel against a powerful and manipulating businessman, Hans-Eric Wennerström. As he awaits the start of his jail sentence, Bloomkvist is approached by Henrik Vanger, an aging industrialist and is hired to investigate the disappearance of Vagner’s niece, Harriet. Harriet went missing forty years ago from the family’s small island village. Teamed up with Lisbeth Salander, an eccentric and tattooed computer hacker, Bloomkvist begins to delve into the Vanger family history. They uncover a horrid past littered with abuse, lies, and murder. The storyline of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO was a little slow at first, but it quickly reveals itself to be an amazing story that any fan of mystery would love. The characters are powerful and the story line, once it picked up, was faced paced and thrilling. Fortunately, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is the first of a Millennium trilogy. Unfortunately, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE (2009 release), and CASTLES IN THE SKY (2010 release) are the last books written before Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004. All three have become international best sellers. I anxiously and impatiently await their release in the US. 09/08 Jennifer Lawrence
THE GIRL WITH THE LONG GREEN HEART by Lawrence Block: Never, ever, ever promise a female employee you are going to marry her unless you really intend to. Real estate entrepreneur Wallace Gunderman of Olean, New York will tell you that this is a lesson he learned the hard way in this Lawrence Block thriller, Hardcase Crime Number 14. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, particularly a good looking one like Evelyn Stone, Gunderman’s secretary, lover, and worst enemy. With her help Johnny Hayden and Doug Rance are going for the gold, and they aren’t in the Olympics either. Another great Lawrence Block tale. 02/07 Jack Quick
Girls’ Poker Night by Jill A. David: Light and frothy contemporary romance between NYC columnist and her boss from a former writer of the The Late Show (David Letterman). Fast & fun.
THE GIVEN DAY by Dennis Lehane: It’s been several years since the last Lehane novel, but all I can say is it was worth the wait. Set at the end of WWI, Lehane paints an utterly fascinating picture of life in Boston from the North End to the South End. No story about Boston would be complete without mentioning the Babe, and Lehane takes us through early baseball prior to the curse of the Bambino, and in fact, Babe Ruth is one of the richly drawn characters whose story is secondary to those of mere mortal men; particularly, Danny Coughlin, son of a powerful, Irish police captain, and Luther Laurence, a man of color on the run from gangsters and the law. Danny’s a beat cop who is appalled at the way his fellow police officers are treated; terribly underpaid (the janitors make more), working 70 hours a week as a matter of course in station houses that are overrun with vermin and filth. Luther lands a job as houseman to the Coughlin family, and their lives and their stories overlap, violence and race always a part of it, until the dramatic ending. Cameo appearances include Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge and a young Federal agent named John Hoover. A thoroughly fascinating and engaging read, sure to land on many best books of the year lists, including my own. 10/08 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS by Gordon Dahlquist: When Roger Bascombe abruptly breaks off their engagement, Celeste Temple is determined to discover why. She follows him to a strange mansion in the countryside where glamorous masked guests view a strange demonstration. From that moment on, Miss Temple’s life is forever changed. Cardinal Chang, known for his scarlet colored coat and the violent scars that cover his face, has been hired to kill a certain soldier. Chang finds the soldier, already dead by someone else’s hand. Doctor Abelard Svenson has been charged with the safety and well being of the Prince of Macklenburg, until he loses his prince. These three unlikely allies will soon find themselves fighting together against an evil cabal and the invention that would allow them to rule the world. Dahlquist’s grand and ambitious novel is an intricate work of art and a perfect debut. 09/06 Becky LeJeune
THE GLASS RAINBOW by James Lee Burke: There is a saying where I grew up that “a bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work,” which might be an apt description of the latest Dave Robicheaux. It’s not the best one ever written, but it is James Lee Burke, with his gift for penning descriptions that put you absolutely in the middle of the story. Dave has major problems in this one. Adopted daughter, Alafair, now grown-up and taking a semester off from law school to finish a novel has returned home. She also has become involved with Kermit Abelard, a writer who is also the son of one of the region’s most notorious robber barons. Dave is investigating Kermit, along with his friend, an ex-con turned best-selling memoirist, regarding the deaths of several area young women, which puts him squarely at odds with Alafair. Clete is close to meltdown and dodges a serious jail term only because someone has subsequently killed the lowlife that Clete tried to turn into a woodpecker (by banging his head against a pecan tree trunk). At one point Clete comes close to eating his gun, while Dave’s frustration mounts to the point of seriously threatening his hard won sobriety. It’s all kind of dark and gloomy, much like the swamps and bayous around New Iberia. I recommend it for those like me who are avid fans of Burke, but would suggest the casual reader not judge this fine author solely by this book. 09/10 Jack Quick
GLASS TIGER by Joe Gores: Brendan Thorne has escaped from his past as a former CIA assassin, taking refuge as the lone white camp guard at Kenya’s premier game park. But Thorne is deported back to the States on a trumped-up poaching charge and forced to track down a would-be presidential assassin. The assassin, Hal Corwin, is a former Vietnam sniper who has apparently killed his own daughter, a campaign advisor to President Gustave Wallberg. Now Corwin has his sights set on Wallberg himself, and Thorne is the only one who has a chance of stopping him. But is everything as it appears? Sometimes it’s hard to tell right from wrong, even with a program. Well written, and engaging right up to the surprising conclusion. 02/07 Jack Quick
GLIMMER by Phoebe Kitanidis: Elyse Alton and Marshall King can’t remember who they are. They can’t remember their names, they can’t remember each other’s names, and they certainly can’t recall how they ended up tangled together in bed. Apparently, at least according to Elyse’s mother, they’re having a “moment.” Lots of people in Summer Falls have “moments”—gaps in their memory, sudden collapses into what the locals call “heatnaps”—but Elyse can see things that others can’t. Elyse can see the ghosts that walk amongst them in Summer Falls. Marshall and Elyse are driven to discover the truth about the small town, especially when they uncover Marshall’s past and the circumstances surrounding the death of his mother. From the start, the reader has no idea what is coming in Glimmer. Elyse and Marshall are unreliable narrators in the sense that the reader only learns as much as they do as the story occurs. It made Glimmer an enthralling read from start to finish and one with a great premise. 4/12 Becky Lejeune
GLITTER OF DIAMONDS by N.J. Linquist: Be careful what you wish for – or at least be careful what you say. Outspoken Sports Talk-show host Stasey Simon asked on-air for a volunteer to knock some sense into the one of the home team’s temperamental pitchers. Maybe she was kidding, but it doesn’t look good when a body is found in the team’s bullpen. This is the second outing for Toronto detectives Paul Manziuk and Jacqueline Ryan, with a cast of characters with a capital C – all manner of players, a Marilyn Monroe wannabe and the potential for an international incident. The bases are loaded, it’s the bottom of the ninth, who is on first, I don’t know, keep reading to find out the answer in this nicely done “classical” mystery. The only criticism is the “pre-game is excessively long – almost a third of the book before the serious action starts. 05/07 Jack Quick
GLOVER’S MISTAKE by Nick Laird: Glover’s Mistake is Irish poet Nick Laird’s second novel and shows considerable growth while continuing his clever use of language and mordant look at society. His first book, Utterly Monkey, almost felt like a lark – as though he were simply out to prove that poets could too write novels. Perhaps an effort to tease his then-girl friend, now wife, novelist Zadie Smith.
This time, Laird is serious. Well, more serious anyway. Glover’s Mistake seemed to me to be in many ways, a novel of manners. I was reminded of Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth. Just as Wharton examined the plight of those who were cursed to be born into a class without advantages, Laird examines the plight of the educated but unattractive and lonely man in contemporary urban society.
That man is a pedantic private school teacher, David Pinner. The story revolves around his relationships with his roommate, Glover, a bartender, who has the advantages of looks and likeability and, Ruth, a former teacher who has become a relatively well-known artist and has the advantage of real talent. David bumbles his way into the beginning of a relationship with Ruth and then, unfortunately, brings her back to his flat. There, Ruth and Glover are taken with each other. David is gradually left behind as the relationship between Ruth and Glover gets deeper and deeper, leading to sex (which he sadly happens to stumble on) and an intended marriage.
Although I was initially inclined to feel some sympathy for David, it turns out that he is not only one not to give up, but one willing to act underhandedly and maliciously to simply destroy what he can’t have. Glover’s mistake is his continuing assumption of David’s support and good intentions as evidence mounts to the contrary. Some reviewers have been put off by Laird’s occasional use of obscure or especially high-flown or slangy language. Poets are fascinated with words and I like that kind of thing. I am looking forward to Laird’s next book. 08/09 Geoffrey R. Hamlin
GLOW by Amy Kathleen Ryan: Earth is on its last leg and two ships have been sent out in search of a new world. They know that it will take years to reach their new home, so they are tasked not only with cultivating a world’s worth of plants and animals, but in ensuring their own children will carry on their mission. Something has gone terribly wrong, though, and one ship has attacked the other, kidnapping all of their girls and killing most of the adults. As the remaining boys fend for themselves and attempt chase, trouble in their own ranks sets them against one another. And the girls have discovered that the other ship has no children. This is the first in a new dystopian trilogy for teens. It’s a good premise that brings up some really frightening issues. I found the beginning a bit choppy, but once the action starts, the book picks up quite a bit. I’m curious to see what could come next for the travelers. 09/11 Becky Lejeune
GO-GO GIRLS OF THE APOCALYPSE by Victor Gischler: “This is how Mortimer Tate ending up killing the first three human beings he’d laid eyes on in nearly a decade:” What an opening line. Mortimer Tate, a recently divorced insurance salesman holes up in a cave on top of a mountain in Tennessee to ride out the end of the world. Nine years later he emerges to a post apocalyptic landscape covered with abandoned automobiles, where the only source of electricity is provided by indentured servants pedaling stationary bicycles. The only semblance of life as it was revolves around Joey Armageddon’s Sassy A-Go-Go strip clubs, where the beer is cold, the lap dancers are hot, and the bouncers are armed with M16s. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Tate picks up some needy companions – cowboy Buffalo Bill, former stripper Sheila, and mountain man Ted. Together they journey to the lost city of Atlanta in a desperate attempt to save what is left of mankind. James Rollins says it best in his blurb, “Who would have guessed the book was even better than the title?” I concur. 08/08 Jack Quick
GO THE F**K TO SLEEP by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Ricardo Cortés: This looks like a children’s picture book but is anything but. This is a picture book for adults – adults who have children. Probably one of the most clever and original books to come out in a long while, the pdf done before publication went viral, and the finished book took the media by storm. It debuted at the top of the NY Times bestseller list. This is for any parent who has ever had a hard time getting their child to bed:
All the kids from daycare are in dreamland
The froggie has made his last leap
Hell no you can’t go to the bathroom
You know where you can go? The fuck to sleep.
Samuel L. Jackson reads the audio book and you can download it at audible.com for free, or see the illustrations along with Jackson reading it here or on YouTube. Put this at the top of your gift list for any parent of young children. It will bring sweet relief. 07/11 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GO THE F**K TO SLEEP by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Ricardo Cortés: Masquerading as a children’s bedtime story this picture book is definitely not for children. Actually, due to the strong language – which, noting the title, is a given – some parents may find it objectionable for their own reading. In the story, the father’s frustration mounts throughout the night as he tries everything he can think of to coax his daughter to go to sleep. This book has received a great deal of attention. However, I do not think the illustrator, Ricard Cortés, has received the credit he deserves for his part in the story. If you look closely at the illustrations you will find reassurance that the struggle is only within the mind of the father. The child is blissfully unaware of her father’s distress. Sadly, that is too often not the case in real life. I commend Mr. Cortés for providing illustrations that speak volumes. 08/11 Kimberly Bower
THE GODMOTHER by Carrie Adams: Tessa King is a thirty-ish single unemployed attorney in London. She’s out of work because her boss was sexually harassing/stalking her, so she revs up her social life and becomes friend on call for all her godchildren (“always a Godmother, never a mother”); the oldest, Caspar, is a teen in trouble. Then there’s sickly Cora, whose single mom is so hung-up on her ex she’s letting him get away without supporting them. Finally, the newest godchildren, infant twins Bobby and Tommy, whose parents have a very rocky marriage and lots of dark secrets. But Tessa’s relationships aren’t all about the kids, this is a very tight group of friends, including the parents of the aforementioned godchildren, plus fertility-challenged Claudia and Al, and Tessa’s best friend Ben and his wife, Sasha. Rather than being just another chick-lit, happy, sexy book, Adams takes a more serious look at what makes marriage and parenting and friendships work, often in a humorous way, but also in some very troubling ones. A thought-provoking yet very entertaining read. 12/08 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GODMOTHER: THE SECRET CINDERELLA STORY by Carolyn Turgeon: Imagine if Cinderella never made it to the ball at all? Imagine if, instead, the one person responsible for helping Cinderella meet her fate betrayed her in the worst possible way? That’s exactly what happened in this tale. Lil, Cinderella’s fairy godmother, became so entranced by the human world, and so enamored with the prince herself, that she attended the ball in Cinderella’s place and fell in love with the prince. For that she was banished from her kingdom, sent to live out her days as a human in New York City. She spends her days working in a used bookstore, taking solace in the tales from her old life, and nights dreaming about a world she can never return to. Until she meets Veronica, that is. In Veronica, Lil sees a possible chance of redemption. Maybe, if she does it right this time and fulfills her duty as a godmother, maybe she can return home. Turgeon’s lovely and sad tale is not so much a fairy tale re-told as one would expect it to be. Instead, it’s a tale that stands all on its own, heartbreaking and beautifully told. 03/09 Becky Lejeune
GODS BEHAVING BADLY by Marie Phillips: The twelve Greek gods are still alive…and are residing in a run-down townhouse in London. Their lives are quite pathetic. Artemis, the goddess of hunting is a dog walker. Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, is a phone sex operator. And Apollo, god of the sun, is a TV psychic. The gods, in their boredom, are in constant battle with one another. Aphrodite decides to pull a trick on Apollo. Using the powers of Eros, the god of love and sexual desire, she makes Apollo fall in love with an audience member during his TV show. The unknowing victim is Alice, a quiet and meek janitor for the television station. The battle between the gods escalates when Alice doesn’t reciprocate Apollo’s love. The future of humankind is in question, and it’s up to two lowly mortals to save it. GODS BEHAVING BADLY is a hysterical take on the Greek gods. It starts out quite humorous, but takes on a serious spin when love and the fate of the fate of the world comes in to play. A very quick read; you definitely won’t want to put this one down. 02/09 Jennifer Lawrence
GODS IN ALABAMA by Joshilyn Jackson: First effort leans toward chic-lit although there is a murder, maybe. Arlene Fleet thinks so anyway. Attempted 1987 date rape foiled by a tequila shot (in the bottle) to the head of the star football player has led Arlene away from her small town Alabama home forever, but events a decade later bring her, and her black boyfriend, home for a family gathering. Is she really a murderer? Why wasn’t the body ever found? Why after ten years is her old friend Rosa Mae Lolley on the case? Not really Steel Magnolias, but more of a treatise on how dysfunctional a family can be. Well written, but not my cup of tea. 04/05 ~This review contributed by Jack Quick.
GODS OF ABERDEEN By Micah Nathan: This one is so far off the beaten path of my usual pursuits that I have to issue kind of a disclaimer here. I had to read this TWICE to end up liking it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
This is a book steeped in the closed world of college academia, a world I have not been around in 30 years,
but the story that’s told here has great merit. First time author Micah Nathan tells a lost youth/teen angst & ennui story to the max here. Sixteen year old Eric Dunne has been accepted as a charity case at Aberdeen College (sort of a second-tier Yale.) He skipped a grade, and he’s really confused; sexually, personally, and academically. He’s a poor boy who gets dumped amongst the sharks. But he proves his worth with his knowledge of Latin and is recruited to work on Dr. Cade’s project. He’s befriended by a collection of eccentric geniuses, mostly his best pal Art. I don’t want to blow the story here, it gets better as time goes on. Eric finds out that Art ain’t exactly a stand up guy, plus he’s fooling around with stuff that ends up getting a kid killed tragically. Whether it was murder or not is kind of left up to you to decide. One caveat to the author, don’t use so much time to set it up…hook ’em to the ribs early. A very nice first effort, and I suspect more’s to come. Recommended, even by me. 04/06 DOC
GOLD FIRE by Ed Mitchell: Third in the series (after Gold Lust and Gold Raid) this techno-thriller grabs you up front and doesn’t let go. Khalid Jafar, the son of Osama bin Laden, is proposing to end global terrorism. But he has nuclear warheads stolen from Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces. Is he sincere or is this a ploy? Will his target be Washington, Moscow or Tel Aviv, or all three? It is up to FBI agent Cholo Cantera to team with an Israeli counter-terrorism unit and find the missing weapons before it is too late. The big clock is ticking and midnight ain’t far away. A juiced Tom Clancy stay up all night read, and you won’t even need any black coffee. Go for it. 08/07 Jack Quick
THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI by Helene Wecker: It’s 1899 when Chava and Ahmad come to New York. Chava is a golem. She was created and brought to this New World as a wife for a man who unfortunately didn’t survive the voyage. But she was lucky that her husband-to-be did manage to wake her before he died. She’s lucky again when she meets a rabbi who knows exactly what she is. He takes her under his wing and names her Chava, after his own grandmother. Ahmad is a jinni who has been trapped for centuries in an old flask that has been passed down from generation to generation. The owner of the flask is completely unaware of the magic inhabitant and so the jinni’s release comes as a surprise to the tinsmith hired to fix the old thing. The jinni has no knowledge of how he came to be trapped in the flask but quickly realizes that part of his curse has left him stuck in human form. Like the golem’s rabbi, the tinsmith decides to help the jinni and takes him on as an apprentice. When the golem and the jinni finally meet, they can each see the other for what they truly are. Together, they form a bond and a friendship that will help them both in this new and foreign land. Turn of the century New York City proves to be an enchanting setting for this fairy tale wrapped immigration story. The Golem and the Jinni, their histories, and the folklore they both come from make Helene Wecker’s debut a truly remarkable and unforgettable read. 5/13 Becky Lejeune
THE GOLIATH BONE by Mickey Spillane and Max Alan Collins: Imagine Stacy Keach’s narrative voice-over and the strains of “Harlem Nocturne”. The deeply melancholy saxophone sets a gritty tone as Keach walks in wearing his wrinkled suit, fedora and trench coat. He reaches into an inner pocket and pulls out, not a rod or a stogie – but a Blackberry. A week before his death Mickey Spillane turned this, his last manuscript, over to his good friend Max Allan Collins to complete and Collins has done a marvelous job. It’s a post 9-11 world, Hammer and Velda are about to get married, Homicide Captain Pat Chambers is about to retire – but there is still one more case to be solved. Matthew Hurley and his half sister Jenna Sheffield, have made a spectacular find in the Valley of Elah: a buried thigh bone whose owner stood over ten feet tall. Could this be Goliath? Al-Qaeda, Homeland Security, the FBI, Mossad, an Israeli vigilante group and a megalomaniac theatrical impresario all think so enough to take their best shot at stealing the giant’s bone and eliminating anyone in their path. Its Mike and Velda against the entire lot, but don’t bet against them. 03/09 Jack Quick
GONE by Mo Hayder: Six months after the events of Skin, DI Jack Caffery has been called to work what seems to be a simple carjacking; simple but for the fact that the victim’s young daughter was in the backseat when the car was taken. Jack is sure that the girl will be returned safe and sound until fellow officer Flea Marley approaches him with a theory: Flea believes that this is just the latest in a string of jackings where the child is actually the target. Now the cops are looking at a kidnapper with an agenda that may prove to be the break in the case that they need, if they can figure it out. And time is running short. Each new installment in this series builds off the last. Even so, each new book can still be read completely on its own. If you follow the series, the buildup is fantastic, but if you’re a new reader, one Mo Hayder title is enough to completely hook you. Never for the fainthearted, always intense, and always excellently plotted, Mo Hayder remains one of my absolute favorites. NOTE: Gone has just been released in the UK; US release date to be determined. 02/10 Becky Lejeune
Gone for Good by Harlan Coben: TELL NO ONE made my top ten list for 2001. His new one, GONE FOR GOOD, is among the first contenders for 2002. The strong writer of the Myron Bolitar series (THE FINAL DETAIL, FADE AWAY, etc.) left Myron behind and had a breakout success with TELL NO ONE. His new novel, GONE FOR GOOD, should firmly entrench Coben in the big leagues.
Will Klein returns home to suburban New Jersey as his mother lay dying to hear, “He’s alive.” The “he” in question is Ken Klein, Will’s beloved older brother. After Will’s high school sweetheart was murdered eleven years earlier, Ken became the prime suspect, which only intensified when he disappeared amidst the suburban media frenzy. His devastated family never heard from him again, and so begins this thriller extraordinaire. Well-defined characters enrich this story that also deals with family relationships, friendship and love.
GONE FOR GOOD has “best seller” written all over it. I couldn’t help but compare it to THE SUMMONS by John Grisham. They both start out with the kid coming home after the death of a parent. After that, Grisham went nowhere but on a 200 page car ride through a school zone with money in the trunk. Harlan took me on a roller coaster ride that left me breathless until the very last page. PS: The movie version of TELL NO ONE is supposed to start filming this summer. GONE FOR GOOD is being developed into a six one-hour limited series for USA network. Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn: Nick and Amy met, fell in love, and got married. They lived happily ever after in New York City, until they were both laid off. Then Nick’s mother got sick and they moved to Missouri to help Nick’s twin sister care for her. Now, Nick and Amy are about to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. Tradition holds that Amy will prepare one of her famous treasure hunts and Nick will have to decipher clues that will take him to his gift at the end. They’ll have dinner and they’ll embark on another year of marriage. But that’s not what happens. Nick gets a call at work: his front door is wide open. When Nick arrives, the house is a shambles and Amy is nowhere to be found. Amy has gone missing and Nick soon finds himself the prime suspect. Anyone familiar with Gillian Flynn’s books knows that things are never what they seem at the outset. Reading Flynn’s work is an experience unlike any other. The twists and turns are unpredictable and dark as can be and Gone Girl is no exception. Another excellent outing for Flynn. 6/12 Becky Lejeune
GONE MISSING by Linda Castillo: Police chief Kate Burkholder (Breaking Silence) returns in this gripping tale of Amish Rumspringa, the time given to teens to sow their wild oats before committing to a religious life as one of the Plain People. Burkholder’s Amish upbringing gives her some insight into how to deal with the Amish when several of their teenagers go missing. Her investigation is complicated when a body is found because the Amish do not allow photographs or have phones. The only bright spot is that Burkholder gets to work with state agent John Tomasetti again, and their relationship deepens. When Kate’s favorite niece vanishes as well, the case becomes personal, and the unsettling ending leaves the door open for more books in the series. Verdict: This fast-paced thrill ride through the always fascinating Amish country of Ohio should appeal to readers of Karin Slaughter, Betty Webb, and Lisa Jackson. Devotees of this series won’t want to miss it, and this entry should gain Castillo new fans as well. [For more Amish suspense, Julie Kramer’s Shunning Sarah publishes this August—Ed.] 6/12 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch Copyright © 2012 Library Journal, a division of Media Source Inc. Reprinted with permission.
GONE ‘TIL NOVEMBER by Wallace Stroby: Stroby’s first two books featured ex New Jersey State Policeman Harry Rane. For this, his third book, he divides the action between New Jersey and Florida’s St. Charles County, when Sara Cross is the lone woman sheriff’s deputy. Cross is a single mother with a six year old son afflicted by leukemia. She ends up in a violent showdown with a New Jersey contract killer who, himself, is suffering from a rare form of cancer. It all starts when fellow deputy Bill Flynn, with whom Sara had a post-divorce fling, shoots a 22-year-old black man from New Jersey allegedly fleeing a traffic stop. Hopefully this will be the start of a new series for Stroby who nails his characters in every outing and hopefully will provide us with many more. 03/10 Jack Quick
GONE TO THE DOGS by Mary Guterson: Rena is a depressed, disorganized mess. Her boyfriend of seven years, the outdoorsy sportsman Brian, has dumped her to move in with a blond Amazon goddess, her apartment is a mess, and she’s waiting tables despite a degree in speech therapy because she didn’t like it and doesn’t know what else to do. On a crazy impulse, she steals Brian’s girlfriend’s dog, names him Big Guy and sneaks him past the No Dogs Allowed sign on the front door of her building. It doesn’t help her depression much, but dinner at her Orthodox sister’s house does. Her mother has a new boyfriend, and her brother-in-law brings home Chaim to meet Rena. Turns out Chaim is really Chuck, which suits her much better, and thus begins a tepid friendship. The story just meanders along until its unlikely conclusion, with few laughs along the way. Jewish chick lit should be better than this. Rena was the only character that was fully realized, which was frustrating because I would have liked to know these people better. 8/09 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GONE TOMORROW by Lee Child: Jack Reacher is back in the 13th entry in the series, and Child continues to prove that a series can grow and get better. Reacher is riding the New York City subway at 2:00 a.m. The car isn’t crowded, there are just five people at that hour but one of them, a young woman, has Reacher on alert. Many years earlier, Israeli intelligence had come up with a list of twelve signs that inevitably proved a person was a suicide bomber. After 9/11, that list became part of police training all over the world and was studied by all law enforcement. Reacher notices this woman is exhibiting all twelve signs. He manages to avoid the catastrophe he envisioned, but as he starts working with a local cop to try and figure out what was going on, the FBI gets involved as does a politician running for senator, and two women from Afghanistan. Reacher is on the move between NY and Washington DC, looking for answers but he’s being lied to. His life is in danger and he’s not sure if it’s because of what he knows or what he’s about to find out. This tightly plotted thriller is as thought provoking as it is exciting. Fans of the series will love it, and newcomers impressed and intrigued enough with this larger-than-life character to go back and read the rest of the series. 05/09 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GONE TOMORROW by Lee Child: “Suicide bombers are easy to spot. They give out all kinds of tell-tale signs. Mostly because they are nervous. By definition, they’re all first-timers.” New York City. It starts at two in the morning in a New York City subway car heading uptown. Six people, one of them Jack Reacher, four innocents and Susan Mark, whose lonely heart, estranged son, and big secret create a big hole. Reacher must find out how big and deep that hole is. How many places – Washington, California, Afghanistan – how many lives from a US Senate candidate to a beautiful young woman with an unbelievable story and many others along the way. Yes, Reacher can handle the truth – if he can only find it. Like riding a roller coaster in the dark – until lights finally come on – but only at the end of the ride. Possibly the best Reacher yet. 06/09 Jack Quick
GONE WITH A HANDSOMER MAN by Michael Lee West: Southern charm and some crazy characters make this mystery a lot of fun. Teeny Templeton is engaged to Bing Jackson and sharing his home; that is, until the day her wedding cake decorating class is canceled, and she comes home to find two naked women playing badminton with her betrothed. After climbing a peach tree and pelting them all with underripe fruit, Teeny ends up in jail. But that’s just the beginning – Bing ends up murdered and Teeny is the immediate suspect. She hooks up with a lawyer who also happens to be her first love, and the plot thickens, replete with recipes. Despite the cast of zany characters, or maybe because of them, I couldn’t put the book down. 05/11 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien: It’s been called the definitive novel of the Vietnam War and deservedly so. The truth about that war is eloquently expressed in a story that dissolves into hallucination. Where one begins and the other ends gives the reader something to think about. A totally engrossing, thought provoking read.
A GOOD AND HAPPY CHILD by Justin Evans: Fatherhood has not bought George Davies any sense of happiness. In fact, he finds himself terrified of being alone with his new son. George will not touch, change, or otherwise care for the child in any way. His strange behavior prompts him to begin seeing a therapist where he begins to recount certain events of his own childhood and his previous experience with therapy. At the age of 11, George Davies is an outcast amongst his peers. His is highly intelligent but also very awkward. Things seem to get worse for George after his father dies on a mission trip in Honduras. George does manage to make a new friend – a friend that only he can see, a friend who promises to tell him all sorts of secrets. Then George’s new friends turns on him and people around him begin to suffer strange accidents. Could George’s invisible friend really be some sort of demonic presence or is George suffering from some sort of delusion or dementia? His own father claimed to have visions himself but was never violent. Is there any merit to George’s fear of his child? The question of psychological versus demonic causes for all the trouble that George experiences is fascinating and guaranteed to draw readers in from the very first page. Evans’s engaging debut is definitely one that sticks with you long after you put it down. 06/07 Becky Lejeune
THE GOOD COP by Brad Parks: Carter Ross returns in this fourth outing about the New Jersey newspaper reporter with a strong sense of justice, a passion for journalism, and a self-deprecating sense of humor. Ross is woken early one morning to a phone call from his boss, ordering him to follow up on a cop killing. He decides to visit the widow and learns a lot about the victim, none of which makes sense when he is later told the cop took his own life. The widow is adamant that her husband was murdered, but when her preacher pulls his support from the investigation, Ross knows something is up. He keeps digging, despite being shot at, while his current flame and previous girlfriend complicate his life further. Meanwhile there is another storyline involving gun smuggling that starts intersecting with the cop killing, making for a thoughtful look at gun laws in New Jersey that, in light of the Shady Hook massacre, becomes even more compelling and disturbing. This is a tautly written page turner with charm and humor, a terrific combination and sure to appeal to David Rosenfelt and Janet Evanovich fans. 3/13 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch Copyright © 2013 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association. Reprinted with permission.
THE GOOD LIAR by Laura Caldwell: Kate has been separated from her husband for ten months when her best friend Liza decides enough is enough. She sets Kate up with an older man, an acquaintance of hers, named Michael Waller. Michael and Kate really hit it off and are married four months later in spite of the fact that Liza thinks things are moving a little too fast. See, Liza knows more about Michael than Kate ever will. That’s because Liza and Michael work together for a group called The Trust. The Trust, set up by Liza’s father, is a secret organization whose job is to protect American interests. Kate was never meant to know about The Trust, but she soon learns that Michael has been keeping secrets. She could never imagine that her best friend has been keeping them as well. Then Liza’s lover is killed in a plane crash, and she begins to suspect that Michael may have been involved. Could Michael have gone rogue and has Liza inadvertently put her best friend in the line of fire? As their web of lies continues to grow, everyone becomes suspect and no one knows who can be trusted. The Good Liar is a puzzle that Caldwell seems to have put together with ease. As each piece is revealed, the plot becomes more intricate and involved. A definite up-all-nighter and a must read for any thriller fan. 01/08 Becky Lejeune
Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner: America’s answer to Bridget Jones and Jemima J, all rolled up into one funny, heartwarming feel-good novel. A great beach read, light and entertaining, a real page turner. The characters are well defined and believable, even in their eccentricities, which is not always easy to do. This is not great literature, but it doesn’t aspire to be. It is a “chick book”, and a good one.
THE GOOD OLD BOYS by Paul Hemphill: Growing up in the South. In 1974, Atlanta Journal newspaper columnist Paul Hemphill captured the essence of the experience with chapters in this book like “Praise the Lord and pass the Ball to Fuqua,” “God Bless Lester, He Means Well”, and “Welcome to the Death Hilton”. These are the best of the best of Hemphill’s daily columns expanded and combined to provide a vivid word picture of country music, stock car racing, moonshine, hard living and high-power preaching. If you were there this will bring back memories, if not, open a door to an era that is gone forever. Dated, but still a great read. 09/05 ~This review contributed by Jack Quick.
GOOD PEOPLE by Marcus Sakey: Sakey pushes into Harlan Coben territory with this thriller about an ordinary family finding themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Tom and Anna Reed have exhausted their life savings and their credit line on infertility treatments in hopes of having a baby. They own a two family house and rent out the downstairs to a man who pays his rent on time every month, even though he appears to be a bit of a hermit. One night the smoke alarm goes off in his apartment, and when it doesn’t stop, Tom and Anna go down to investigate. There’s a grease fire on the stove, and no sign of their tenant. Anna grabs a container of flour and dumps it on the fire, putting it out. But then she notices what appears to be cash hidden in the flour. The next thing you know, they find $400,000 in cash hidden in the cabinets and one very dead tenant from an overdose of pain meds. No relatives claim the body, he has no friends that they’ve ever seen, so what to do with the money? The obvious. Except that their tenant wasn’t quite the hermit they thought he was; he stole that money from some very bad men who have been looking for him and want it back, at any cost. Tom and Anna find themselves in way over their heads in this nail-biting, action packed thriller that in Sakey’s very capable, very smart hands, leads to a solution that is not quite as simple as you would think. One of the best thrillers of the year. 8/08 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GOOD PEOPLE by Marcus Sakey: All Tom and Anna Reed ever wanted was a family and the financial means to enjoy it. Unable to have children and barely hanging on financially when their downstairs tenant—a recluse whose promptly delivered cashier’s checks were barely keeping them afloat—dies in his sleep. Then, they find $400,000 stashed in his kitchen. A fairy tale ending. Not so fast. It seems their tenant wasn’t a hermit who squirreled away his pennies. He was a criminal who double-crossed some of the most dangerous men in Chicago. – men who won’t stop until they get revenge, no matter where they find it. Free money can be terribly expensive. 8/12 Jack Quick
THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM by Chris Ewan: They say that an author should write what he knows. Charlie Howard certainly does. He is a full-time author and part-time thief whose main character is a mystery-solving burglar named Faulks. While working on his latest novel in Amsterdam, Charlie is contacted by an American who wants him to steal two seemingly worthless monkey figurines. The figurines complete the see no, hear no, speak no evil trio and the American already has the third in his possession. Charlie refuses the job at first, there’s not enough preparation time and he’s uncomfortable with the fact that he has no idea how this person got his name in the first place. Charlie is also a bit confused as to why the man would be willing to shell out such big bucks for two plaster monkeys of no value. His curiosity eventually gets the best of him and Charlie does, in fact, carry out the job. When he gets to the meeting point though, the American is gone. The American is found, beaten into a coma, and Charlie is the number one suspect. No surprise, but the third monkey is now missing. Charlie must figure out just what is going on before he ends up spending the rest of his days in a Scandinavian prison. This is a fun play on the traditional who-done-it and is a bit reminiscent of Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief. Ewan’s debut was the second annual winner of the Long Barn Books First Novel Contest. Long Barn is a small British house that publishes one novel each year. It’s easy to see why this appealing novel was their winning choice. 11/07 Becky Lejeune
THE GOODBYE COUSINS by Maggie Leffler: Di Linzer has not returned to the states for many years. In fact, the last time she was stateside was when her own mother kidnapped her as a young girl. Fearing a wicked custody battle, Di’s mother whisked her off to Europe, moving every so often just to keep the trail cold. Now, Di’s mother has died and Di has her own son to deal with. She has finally decided to return home, but it’s too late for a reconciliation with her father. Di’s remaining connection is her soon-to-be-married reporter cousin, Alecia, a woman dealing with her own issues. Readers are taken on a sweet and touching ride as both women really begin to discover who they are as individuals and where they want their lives to be. And both will learn, that even with all the dysfunctions and issues, family is what keeps everything in their lives together. Leffler’s story is one about families and how wonderful they really can be if you let them. 07/09 Becky Lejeune
GOODNIGHT NOBODY by Jennifer Weiner: Weiner has taken us from single gal pal/chick lit (Good in Bed, In Her Shoes) to married life and becoming a mom (Little Earthquakes) to Goodnight Nobody, the housewife life in ritzy suburbia. Kate Klein is married with children and bored, bored, bored. She also doesn’t understand why she is bored when all the other mommies seem quite engrossed with potty training, play dates and organic snacks. When she finds one of her neighbors dead on the kitchen floor, Kate decides to do a little investigating of her own. She has her best gal pal Janie Siegel, heiress to the Seigel carpet fortune, helping her out while she sneaks around trying to solve the murder. Chapters flow back and forth between Kate’s background story and the investigation but all the chapters have wonderful characters, lots of laughs and as always with Jennifer Weiner, lots of heart. Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GOODNIGHT TWEETHEART by Teresa Medeiros: Author Abby Donovan became a literary darling overnight when her book was picked by Oprah for her book club. Since then, Abby has been fighting an extended bout of writer’s block. Then her agent suggests starting a Twitter account for publicity purposes. When Abby “meets” Mark Baynard, she finds herself looking forward to their daily exchanges. But as she begins to think she might be falling for him, she has to wonder how well she’s really getting to know him via their little chats. Medeiros’s latest, told mostly in back and forth tweets, makes for quick and light reading. No doubt fans will enjoy this contemporary release from the romance author, as will readers new to her list. 12/10 Becky Lejeune
GOSSIP by Beth Gutcheon: Idle gossip becomes a sticky mess with serious consequences in this latest from Gutcheon. Loviah “Lovie” French attended Miss Pratt’s boarding school in the 60s. There she met Avis Binney and Dinah Kittredge. She and Dinah would remain fast friends even as they graduate, move to New York, and begin their careers – Lovie in the fashion industry and Dinah as a columnist. When Lovie reconnects with Avis as an adult, she comes to count her as another of her closest friends as well. But Dinah never meshes with Avis, even when her youngest son marries Avis’s daughter. None of them could be more pleased with the match though; that is until some unsavory rumors begin to spread through the Big Apple. Lovie soon finds herself stuck in the middle but even she couldn’t predict how things would turn out. This is my first read by Gutcheon and I don’t know how I’ve missed her this long. Her writing is phenomenal – elegant and lyrical – and I quickly became attached to the characters. I didn’t expect the book to take such a dark turn, but it made Gossip that much more of a stand out. 3/13 Becky Lejeune
GOTCHA! by Christie Craig: In Christie Craig’s latest romantic mystery, Houston girl Macy Tucker has had it with men: All they bring is disappointment. So now it’s time to swear them off and make her own plans for the future, plans that certainly don’t include a new love interest. When her little brother inadvertently lands his whole family in trouble, and escapes jail trying to protect them, Detective Jake Baldwin is forced to get involved. Something about Macy really turns him on and all he can think about is keeping her safe from trouble. And as hard as headstrong Macy tries to resist Baldwin’s charms, she has to admit that he’s getting under her skin. But now’s not the time for romance. Not with her brother on the run from the law and a crazy psychopath stalking Macy. Just goes to show that the best-laid plans sometime fail. Before long, bullets are speeding past, a couple of hospital visits are involved, and Macy is head over heels for a guy she is sure is completely wrong for her. Gotcha. makes for great forget-all-your-worries reading. It’s funny and really hooks you from the very beginning. A fun way to kick off summer. 06/09 Becky Lejeune
GRAND CAYMAN SLAM by Randy Wayne White: Captain Wes O’Davis has been having a fling with the nanny hired to mind the son of Sir Conan James and Lady James, British aristocracy with powerful connections. When the boy is kidnapped and the nanny’s body is found in Davis’ Grand Cayman cottage, it got a bit dicey. But O’Davis had a food reputation and a solid alibi, so he enlists friend Dusty MacMorgan, ex-Seal and now charter boat captain to work with him to find the kidnappers, rescue the boy, and avenge the young lady who had come from England to Caymans only to die. Not world class literature but a good action yarn. 06/09 Jack Quick
THE GRAIL CONSPIRACY by Joe Moore and Lynn Sholes: It would be easy enough to dismiss this as another entry in the DaVinci Code genre, but it is nicely written and tightly edited, if a bit far fetched at times. Television journalist Cotten Stone accidentally stumbles upon an archeological dig while escaping Iraq that uncovers the world’s most-sought-after religious relic: the Holy Grail. Stone smuggles the wooden box back to New York not sure what is in it. She looks up a priest/professor on the Internet who has a book telling how to open the box, which does contain a chalice. People around her start dying while others give her messages in a secret language shared with her long dead twin sister. She and the priest then go, not to Paris, but to New Orleans during Mardi Gras to “save the world.” If you can accept the string of coincidences, not a bad read at all. 11/05 ~This review contributed by Jack Quick.
GRAVE DESCEND by John Lange: Hard Case Crime Reprint #26 of the 1970 Edgar nominated story of the sinking of the yacht Grave Descend. McGregor is hired to dive the wreck and see if the boat is salvageable. Before the dive there is one problem – each person he talks to has a different story – the insurance adjuster who is the owner’s brother, the chorus line dancer whose presence the owner wants kept hidden, the vessel’s captain – why are none of the stories adding up? Why did the boat sink, why is its position so precisely known, what is to be gained by delaying the news of its sinking twenty-four hours, why has no one already been inquiring, and lastly what is on the boat that is so valuable? McGregor needs to get answers and survive. Well-written, fast read. 11/06 Jack Quick
Grave Endings by Rochelle Krich: I was really looking forward to this book because I really enjoyed the first two in the series, so I hate to admit I was disappointed with her latest. The popular Molly Blume series returns with this well written whodunit that somehow falls flat. As mentioned in Blues in the Night (2002) and Dream House (2003), Molly’s best friend Aggie Lasher had been murdered six years earlier but the case was never solved. Two weeks before her wedding day, Molly is asked to identify a necklace that contains the symbolic red thread of celebrity-hot Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) which she had given to Aggie. It’s turned up in the personal effects of a dead drug dealer, leading the cops to finally close the case, but Molly isn’t so sure they’ve got their man and becomes obsessed with finding the truth. Everyone becomes suspect, the cops aren’t as forthcoming as she’d like, the murdered girl’s family and old co-workers tell conflicting and confusing stories, as do the drug dealer’s friends and relatives. Molly eventually ferrets out the facts, has a few close calls, and marries her fiancé, but gone are any hints of romance or those warm and funny moments we’ve come to expect from the Blume family, making the book feel very one dimensional and ultimately unsatisfying. Recommended for larger fiction collections. Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
GRAVE IMPORTS by Eric Stone: Interesting second entry into an apparent series. Ray Sharp, former journalist and now business investigator in Hong Kong becomes involved in the sordid but lucrative trade in stolen Cambodian art. The action leads back from Hong Kong into the Chinese boomtown of Shenzhen, through Thailand; and finally into the killing fields of Cambodia. Well conceived, but suffers from the tendency of the author to provide “dumps” of information, which while interesting, get to be overwhelming. Also, the reader is somewhat adrift if they have not read the preceding book because of the references back to that outing. The above notwithstanding, the characters are interesting, the action flows, and the locales are exotic. Lets hope number three is even better. 09/07 Jack Quick
GRAVE WEB by Betty Sullivan LaPierre: The death of her father, with whom she lived, causes Becky Simpson to want to re-open the issue of her missing mother, who left the family without explanation years earlier. When she opens the safe in her father’s office, she finds letters from her mother and a box containing her mother’s wedding ring, along with a note that blames her father’s affair for her leaving. She then hires “Hawkman”, Tom Casey, P I, to track down her mother. The ensuing adventure reminds me of the Rolling Stones tune “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.’ Answers are uncovered, but at a price. Labeled number 10 in the series, I found this overall to be a light weight, breezy read, but probably would not bother working through the Hawkman backlist. 11/07 Jack Quick
THE GRAVING DOCK by Gabriel Cohen: In his second outing, Detective Jack Leightner is dealing with the corpse of a small boy whose body floats off a Red Hook pier in a small coffin. The box was made without nails and the body was treated carefully. But by whom? Its wintertime and Jack is back in his old neighborhood. The case is just what he needs to take his mind off his personal problems. Another good police procedural and a haunting portrait of a world that has irrevocably changed. Recommended. 01/08 Jack Quick
GRAVEMINDER by Melissa Marr: It’s Maylene’s job to mind the dead. The town of Claysville has a contract and there is always a graveminder and an undertaker. They work as a team, and as long as they do their jobs, all is right in their town. But then Maylene is murdered. Rebekkah is Maylene’s granddaughter by marriage only, but she is the one Maylene has chosen to inherit the job. And it is Rebekkah who will have to find out who killed Maylene and set the balance right again. Though this is Marr’s first in the new adult series, readers were initially introduced to the world in “Two Lines,” a novella released in the collection Unbound. With it’s completely original concept and fantastic execution, I have no doubt that Marr’s newest will please her fans and thrill new readers as well. 05/11 Becky Lejeune
GREASING THE PINATA by Tim Maleeny: San Francisco reporter-turned-PI Cape Weathers is at Puerto Vallarte Mexico, looking for the son of a California state senator. Both the son and his father have become gator bait – literally. In spite of this development, Weather’s client, the senator’s daughter, wants him to continue to pursue the matter. This is fine with Weathers who has his own score to settle. With the help of Sally Mei, they pursue the action from Mexican drug cartel to the San Francisco mob as well as the city’s boardrooms. With each outing Maleeny gets better, and his main characters, Weathers, Sally Mei and the Sloth, are all unique. Looking forward to number four. 02/09 Jack Quick
THE GREAT ESCAPE by Susan Elizabeth Phillips: We last met Lucy Jorik in Call Me Irresistible, when she left the perfect man at the altar. This book picks up with Lucy hopping on the back of a motorcycle ridden by a gruff looking biker and riding off into an adventure. Lucy is the daughter of a former U.S. President and has lived most of her life in a political fish bowl. Walking out on her own wedding leaves her feeling rebellious and she doesn’t want to go home to her family, at least not yet. The biker with the unlikely nickname “Panda” was at the rehearsal dinner and Lucy assumes he is a friend of her jilted fiancé, but not close enough to care that he is helping the bride escape. They take off on an adventure which culminates when she finds out who he really is and he leaves her at the airport. But Lucy still doesn’t feel like going home so she heads to Panda’s house and falls in love with the place. Lucy decides to reinvent herself, disguising her usual conservative hair and dress under Goth makeup and slutty clothes. When Panda returns home with an overweight TV diet guru in tow, the sparks and the laughs really start to fly and things heat up to a feverish pitch. Another winner from my favorite romance writer. 8/12 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch
GREEN LIGHT FOR MURDER by Heywood Gould: Director Jay Braffner is making a movie about killing all the people in Hollywood that he thinks stole his ideas and ruined his career. Unfortunately, the movie is all in his mind but the victims are all too real. Detective Tommy Veasy works for the La Playita Police Department, a fictional Los Angeles suburb. Veasy is not your typical cop; he smokes pot and deals with the stress of the job by spouting poetry on a regular basis. First a television producer is found dead in his home after it is tented for termites, then another producer turns up dead by accidentally drinking too much, falling and hitting his head. Veasy doesn’t believe in coincidence; he thinks every accidental death is murder until proven otherwise. He goes looking for the common denominator amongst all the dead producers, despite the lack of cooperation from the department. Interesting characters abound, and the writing style is unique, almost script style but reined in enough to call it a novel with lots of dialogue. This is the blackest of screwball comedies; Gould gives new meaning to the idea of “Hollywood backstabbing.” 2/13 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch Copyright © 2013 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association. Reprinted with permission
GREEN-EYED DEMON by Jaye Wells: Jaye Wells’ second Sabina Kane book ended with the half-vampire/half-mage’s sister, Maisie, kidnapped by vampires. Now, in this third of the series, Sabina, Giguhl, and Adam have come up with a way to get her back. The group is sent to New Orleans with the support of the Seelie court, under one condition: their first and only priority is to kill Lavinia, the vampire Domina. If they can save Maisie in the process, so be it. But Sabina’s never been good at following orders and though it would mean angering Queen Maeve, she and her friends are determined not to leave the Big Easy without Maisie. Unfortunately, it looks as though the vampires have gained a powerful ally in the coming war. The Caste of Nod bends all the known rules about the Dark Races and with Halloween coming soon Sabina knows that they are quickly running out of time. Fans of the series will not be disappointed. Crazy action, dirty humor, and New Orleans—what more could you ask for in an urban fantasy setting? 03/11 Becky Lejeune
GRIFTER’S GAME by Lawrence Block: Joe Marlin is a con man accustomed to scoring easy cash off gullible women. In order to check into an Atlantic City hotel without undue suspicion, he scores some expensive good looking leather luggage at the railroad station. The first surprise is finding a fortune in raw heroin in one of the bags. The second surprise is Mona Brassard, a married bombshell for whom he falls like a ton of bricks. Then the ultimate surprise – the stolen heroin belongs to her husband. You can always count on Block to portray interesting characters in unusual plots, and this is one of his best. 3/12 Jack Quick
A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY by Joshilyn Jackson: Jackson (Backseat Saints) has written an unusual Southern family saga revolving around three generations of lonely, hardscrabble Slocumb women. Grandmother Ginny is the glue that holds them together when her ex-drug addict daughter, Liza, has a severe stroke, leaving her voiceless except for a few vowel sounds. Fifteen-year-old granddaughter Mosey is the same age her mother and grandmother were when they had their daughters, but Mosey isn’t like her forebears; she’s scarcely been kissed by a boy. When Ginny decides to pull out the old willow tree in the backyard to make room for a pool to use in rehabilitating Liza, a shallow grave is uncovered, revealing a small skeleton dressed in tattered baby clothes and unleashing a series of events for which Liza seems to have an explanation—but she can’t tell. The story is told in the alternating voices of the women as the mystery unfolds. VERDICT: Liza, as the unreliable narrator, is used to perfection in this warm family story that teeters between emotional highs and lows, laughter and tears. Book groups will eat this up. 2/12 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch Copyright © 2012 Library Journal, a division of Media Source Inc. Reprinted with permission.
THE GUARDIANS by Andrew Pyper: For kids in the small Canadian town of Grimshaw, the old Thurman house has always had a menacing air about it. Empty for decades, it’s the neighborhood’s haunted house and Ben McAuliffe lives right across the street. Ben and his friends, Carl, Randy, and Trevor, saw horrible things happen in that house. Ben never left Grimshaw. In fact, he made it his duty to keep an eye on the Thurman place, and now Ben is dead. Trevor and Randy return to Grimshaw to say their final goodbyes, but it’s not so simple. A girl has gone missing and the event stirs up memories they buried long ago. Something in the Thurman house has awakened. Something wants out. Pyper’s haunted house horror has just the right amount of creepiness to it—great build in atmosphere and tension and an ending that lives up to the resulting expectation. 10/11 Becky Lejeune
GUILT BY ASSOCIATION by Marcia Clark: Interesting debut from one of the nation’s better known former prosecutors. Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city’s most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family. But she can’t stop herself from digging deeper into Jake’s death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation–and her life–to find the truth. Following somewhat in the footsteps of Robert Tannenbaum and other authors of “District Attorney Procedurals,” this one reads reasonably well. Interesting cop character who reminds me of John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport. Recommended and looking forward to a sequel. 05/11 Jack Quick
GUILT BY DEGREES by Marcia Clark: Clark brings back Los Angeles DA Rachel Knight in this sequel to her well-received debut, Guilt by Association. This new book opens with a gruesome murder of a cop followed by the street killing of a homeless man. Knight is soon following a treacherous path to find the killer, dodging department politics along the way. We learn more about Knight’s disturbing childhood and her love life, as her gal pals—a fellow district attorney and a badass cop—share their work and their lives, bringing additional depth to the tale. But it is the antagonist, a psychopath with a brutal backstory and nerves of steel, who dominates the show. VERDICT Well-developed characters and a story arc that leaves the reader hanging are a surefire way to bring fans back for the next installment, and Clark has wisely left that door wide open. Should appeal to fans of Lisa Scottoline and David Baldacci. 4/12 Stacy Alesi, AKA The BookBitch Copyright © 2012 Library Journal, a division of Media Source Inc. Reprinted with permission.
THE GUILTY by Jason Pinter: Pinter’s second outing with character Henry Parker is a great read. Parker, easing back into his roll as a junior reporter after the incidents in last summer’s The Mark, is assigned to the high profile killing of pop superstar Athena Paradis. Paradis was gunned down in the wee hours of the morning while exiting a New York City nightclub. The killer uses a very distinct weapon and leaves behind a note, strangely enough, quoting Parker himself. The following day, a cop is killed by what seems to be the same weapon – the killer was aiming for the mayor this time. Two more high profile murders follow and Parker is the only one to make a startling connection regarding the killer’s weapon of choice. It seems that the killer is using a Winchester 1873, the gun that won the West. Even more startling, the specific gun the killer appears to be using is said to have belonged to notorious criminal Billy the Kid. Parker’s discoveries lead him straight into the killer’s cross hairs and he soon finds that his own loved ones have become the primary targets. Can Henry uncover the killer’s twisted motive and reveal his true identity before he loses everyone he loves? The Guilty is an explosive thriller with a fascinating plot and an unforgiving pace. With just two books under his belt, young Pinter has already proven himself to be a truly overwhelming new talent in the industry. 03/08 Becky Lejeune
GUILTY AS SIN by Joseph Teller: Jaywalker, Teller’s unorthodox but highly successful defense lawyer is back. His client is a career criminal named Alonzo Barnett, in and out of prison since age fifteen, who is up on charges related to a drug deal. Up against a team of prosecutors—one a talented, ethical newcomer, the other a sleazy, tightfisted veteran—Jaywalker has almost nothing on his side, except his unshakable belief in his client. Oh, also a near perfect record of keeping innocent clients out of the slammer. And in some cases, such as that of Barnett, Jaywalker wins even though the client is guilty as sin. The only reason Jaywalker took this case was a major tuition payment was due and he needed the money. Little did he know where it would end. 06/11 Jack Quick
THE GUILTY ONE by Lisa Ballantyne: An eight-year-old boy has been murdered and his eleven-year-old playmate stands accused. Sadly, though only eleven, British law allows the boy – Sebastian Croll – to be tried as an adult. Daniel Hunter has made a career out of defending minors. The case is already attracting a lot of attention and the hearing is sure to be both emotional and controversial. Sebastian is an odd child: he’s clever but a bit awkward and small for his age. In him, Daniel sees something of himself. As a child, Daniel was shifted from foster home to foster home while his mother spiraled further into a drug-induced haze. Had he not met and been adopted by Minnie Flynn he would never have become what he is today. But Daniel had a falling out with his adoptive mother and hasn’t talked to her for years. Unfortunately, just as the case begins, Daniel receives news that Minnie has died. With the pressures of the trial looming, Daniel is forced to face his past and reconcile his feelings towards Minnie. Lisa Ballantyne’s debut is gripping, to say the least. The story shuttles back and forth between the present and the past, leaving the true revelation about Minnie and Sebastian until the very end. I enjoyed everything about the book: the pacing, the build and intensity of the suspense, and the characters. This is a debut that will likely appeal to a wide range of readers including fans of Laura Lippman and Jodi Piccoult. 4/13 Becky Lejeune
GUN MACHINE by Warren Ellis: A very well written tale about the minds of two men facing each other mentally. One is a a police detective, John Tallow, a loner and single minded individual bent on results in his cases without regard to any toes stepped on. The other is a super serial killer that has been killing in New York’s Manhattan borough for 20 years with the probability that more than 200 people have been his victims. John Tallow with his partner investigate a man rampaging in a Manhattan tenement firing off a gun. John’s partner is killed and after John kills that man he breaks into an apartment on the floor the incident took place on. A huge gun collection is found mounted on the walls of the apartment and investigation reveals that many were used in homicides over a long period of time. The depiction of the investigation and hunt for the killer brings up well described scenes from the past in Manhattan. These descriptions by themselves make the novel well worth the read. The killer, termed the Hunter in the book is, of course, a psychopath and is found to be allied with three very prominent individuals in New York in his lengthy crime spree. The entrance into the minds of both the policeman and the killer is a well sketched out part of an engrossing book and makes the read quite different than any other detective novel. The climax is riveting and logical in the context of the book and causes a remarkable book to end…remarkably. 1/13 Paul Lane
GUN WORK by David J. Schow: When the Mexican kidnapping cartel took Carl Ledbetter’s wife, they though he was just another rich American tourist. What they didn’t know was that before Carl had made his fortune, he was a journalist with a camera who had been to Iraq and had saved the life of one Barney. Barney is not a journalist and he doesn’t carry a camera. Barney is a shooter and he carries a gun. As the San Francisco Chronicle said, it’s “take no prisoners fiction that rarely pulls away from the grisly heart of the matter.” Nicely done and recommended. Number 49 from Hardcase Crime. 10/08 Jack Quick
GUT INSTINCT by Brad Taylor: A short story in which Brad Taylor showcases Jennifer Cahill, Pike Logan’s business partner in the company they run, in order to front their Taskforce operations. Jennifer is a member of the team and providing some love interest for Pike as the series develops. The story begins with a meeting between Jennifer and her ex-husband in her business office. She suffered years of physical abuse at his hands including the lose of a baby she was carrying before dumping him. Pike walks into the meeting and instead of beating up the ex he closes the door and tells Jennifer to use her training against the man. A feel good segment to open the remainder of the story. Pike is recovering from wounds received in the Taskforce’s last action when another team asks for Jennifer’s help in stopping a terrorist in the Far East. Jennifer agrees and gets Pike to come along as backup and advisor. Jennifer accomplishes her mission which involves spying on two women that are thought to be links to the terrorist but does not think that the two ladies are involved in the plot. Her advice is looked down on by the other Taskforce team, but Jennifer prevails and all ends well with her feeling good about herself. This is a short story, to be read in a short time and will not provide the depth of one of Taylor’s full length novels about Pike and Jennifer, but is a good interlude for a reader of the series. The story also includes an introduction to Brad Taylor’s next book, The Widow’s Strike, due out shortly. 6/13 Paul Lane
THE GUTTER AND THE GRAVE by Ed McBain: First published as I’m Cannon—For Hire by “Curt Cannon” in 1958, this updated Number 15 from Hardcase Crime shows the breadth of McBain’s ability and his noir skills at their best. Former PI Matt Cordell has fallen hard and become a bum in New York City’s Bowery district after being betrayed by a dame. His decision to help old friend Johnny Bridges, a tailor, investigate petty larceny at his store soon leads to a series of murders and steamy encounters with lies piling up faster than tokens in a subway station. You may not like Cordell but you have to pull for him to succeed, knowing he is the best and worst of all of us. An oldie but a goodie from one of the masters. 05/07 Jack Quick